Baxter reveals how failure spurred on Chiefs
Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter has spoken about how the failure of last season drove them to become the Absa Premiership champions in 2014/15.
Amakhosi endured a miserable end to the campaign last year, throwing away a near 10-point lead to finish second behind Mamelodi Sundowns.
Twelve months on and it was Baxter and his charges raising the PSL’s flagship trophy on the final day of the term after securing the title a few weeks earlier.
“It’s been a long journey and the journey didn’t begin at the start of this season, it started at the end of last season,” Baxter said. “The way things turned out last season, it was a huge motivating factor for the players, so they worked very hard.”
The foundations of Chiefs’ title win was set during the first half of the season when they went on a 19-match unbeaten run, before eventually falling to a February loss at SuperSport United, who they sold one of their most key players Kingston Nkhatha to in January.
“In the beginning when we went on an unbelievable run, it was to play good football and dominate teams with our movement and our passing and our defensive strength and I think that went up all the way to the turn of the year,” Baxter explained.
“Losing Kingston was a challenge and we scraped around a little bit for a while and during that time lads like Masha (captain Tefu Mashamaite), they stood up and they made sure that our organisation and our doggedness won us a few points.”
Baxter hailed his players, adding that they deserved every bit of success that came their way. They beat Chippa United 2-0 in their final game at the weekend.
The coach added: “The players deserve the success, they’ve been magnificent this year, it’s been a pleasure working with them and I’m pleased with for a lot of them for different reasons.”
Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung, meanwhile, was equally satisfied and hoped they would do even better in 2015/16.
“This is Chiefs’ culture, we doing what we did in the earlier years, but the way we did it now is very special,” he said after the game. “To win it with three games to go, just like Chelsea did by the way and Bayern Munich, and of course the grand finale today was special.
“We create challenges for ourselves, obviously next season and the seasons to come we have to do a lot better.
“It’s just unfortunate that we finished with 69 points, I hope we would have made to 72 to tie in with our 70th birthday.”